18.40 Surveys

18.40.1

Necessity And Purposes Of Surveys

In connection with the insurance of a piece of property, land surveys are necessary for any of the following purposes:

  • To identify and locate a parcel of land.
  • To identify and locate the boundaries of a parcel of land.
  • To redraft a legal description.
  • To serve as a basis for the subdivision of lands.
  • To determine actual distances along government lines or legal subdivisions.
  • To identify gaps and overlaps.
  • To grant "extended coverage."
  • To determine accretions and relictions.
  • To determine the precise location of buildings and structures on a parcel of land.
  • To determine the exact dimension of a parcel of land.
  • To determine the location of specific monuments or topographical features.
  • To determine the existence of legal access to and from the property.
  • To serve as basis for the creation of "condominium" property.
  • To serve as basis for the creation of "planned unit development" property.
  • To serve as basis for the creation of "air rights" or "air space" property.

Note: The above enumeration is not exhaustive.

18.40.2

Minimum Requirements

Any land survey to be used in connection with a title insurance policy must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • It must be current.

    In general terms, for a survey to qualify as current, it should be no more than six months old. However, if there is evidence that a survey, even this recent, is out of date because it does not reflect or show improvements made on the land, it will be necessary to require a more current survey reflecting the same.

  • It must have been done in accordance with:

    • The (State) Minimum Standards for Property Land Surveys (if any), or
    • The Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.

  • Ideally, it must be run to Stewart Title Guaranty Company, in order that privity be established between the surveyor and the Company.
  • It must contain proper certification.
  • It must show the surveyor's signature and seal (they shall be on each sheet of the survey).
  • It must show the date, north arrow and scale (they should be on each sheet of the survey).
  • The legal description must be the same one shown in the commitment. If different, the surveyor must certify to Stewart Title Guaranty Company that they are the same.

Note: The effect of the lack of compliance with any of the above requirements must be carefully considered.

18.40.3

ALTA Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys

MINIMUM STANDARD DETAIL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEYS
(Effective February 23, 2016)

NOTE - Attention is directed to the fact that the National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc. (NSPS) is the legal successor organization to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) and that these 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys are the next version of the former Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.

1.             Purpose - Members of the American Land Title Association® (ALTA®) have specific needs, unique to title insurance matters, when asked to insure title to land without exception as to the many matters which might be discoverable from survey and inspection, and which are not evidenced by the public records. 

For a survey of real property, and the plat, map or record of such survey, to be acceptable to a title insurance company for the purpose of insuring title to said real property free and clear of survey matters (except those matters disclosed by the survey and indicated on the plat or map), certain specific and pertinent information must be presented for the distinct and clear understanding between the insured, the client (if different from the insured), the title insurance company (insurer), the lender, and the surveyor professionally responsible for the survey.

In order to meet such needs, clients, insurers, insureds, and lenders are entitled to rely on surveyors to conduct surveys and prepare associated plats or maps that are of a professional quality and appropriately uniform, complete, and accurate. To that end, and in the interests of the general public, the surveying profession, title insurers, and abstracters, the ALTA and the NSPS jointly promulgate the within details and criteria setting forth a minimum standard of performance for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys.  A complete 2016 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey includes:

(i) the on-site fieldwork required pursuant to Section 5,

(ii) the preparation of a plat or map pursuant to Section 6 showing the results of the fieldwork and its relationship to documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4,

(iii) any information from Table A items requested by the client, and

(iv) the certification outlined in Section 7.

2.         Request for Survey - The client shall request the survey, or arrange for the survey to be requested, and shall provide a written authorization to proceed from the person or entity responsible for paying for the survey.  Unless specifically authorized in writing by the insurer, the insurer shall not be responsible for any costs associated with the preparation of the survey. The request shall specify that an "ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY" is required and which of the optional items listed in Table A, if any, are to be incorporated.  Certain properties or interests in real properties may present issues outside those normally encountered on an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey (e.g., marinas, campgrounds, trailer parks; easements, leases, other non-fee simple interests). The scope of work related to surveys of such properties or interests in real properties should be discussed with the client, lender, and insurer; and agreed upon in writing prior to commencing work on the survey. The client may need to secure permission for the surveyor to enter upon the property to be surveyed, adjoining properties, or offsite easements.

3.     Surveying Standards and Standards of Care

A.    Effective Date - The 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys are effective February 23, 2016.  As of that date, all previous versions of the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys are superseded by these standards.

B.    Other Requirements and Standards of Practice - Many states and some local jurisdictions have adopted statutes, administrative rules, and/or ordinances that set out standards regulating the practice of surveying within their jurisdictions. In addition to the standards set forth herein, surveyors shall also conduct their surveys in accordance with applicable jurisdictional survey requirements and standards of practice. Where conflicts between the standards set forth herein and any such jurisdictional requirements and standards of practice occur, the more stringent shall apply. 

C.    The Normal Standard of Care - Surveyors should recognize that there may be unwritten local, state, and/or regional standards of care defined by the practice of the “prudent surveyor” in those locales.

D.    Boundary Resolution - The boundary lines and corners of any property being surveyed as part of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey shall be established and/or retraced in accordance with appropriate boundary law principles governed by the set of facts and evidence found in the course of performing the research and fieldwork.

E.    Measurement Standards - The following measurement standards address Relative Positional Precision for the monuments or witnesses marking the corners of the surveyed property.

i.      “Relative Positional Precision” means the length of the semi-major axis, expressed in feet or meters, of the error ellipse representing the uncertainty due to random errors in measurements in the location of the monument, or witness, marking any corner of the surveyed property relative to the monument, or witness, marking any other corner of the surveyed property at the 95 percent confidence level.  Relative Positional Precision is estimated by the results of a correctly weighted least squares adjustment of the survey.

ii.    Any boundary lines and corners established or retraced may have uncertainties in location resulting from (1) the availability, condition, history and integrity of reference or controlling monuments, (2) ambiguities in the record descriptions or plats of the surveyed property or its adjoiners, (3) occupation or possession lines as they may differ from the written title lines, or (4) Relative Positional Precision. Of these four sources of uncertainty, only Relative Positional Precision is controllable, although, due to the inherent errors in any measurement, it cannot be eliminated. The magnitude of the first three uncertainties can be projected based on evidence; Relative Positional Precision is estimated using statistical means (see Section 3.E.i. above and Section 3.E.v. below).

iii.   The first three of these sources of uncertainty must be weighed as part of the evidence in the determination of where, in the surveyor’s opinion, the boundary lines and corners of the surveyed property should be located (see Section 3.D. above).  Relative Positional Precision is a measure of how precisely the surveyor is able to monument and report those positions; it is not a substitute for the application of proper boundary law principles.  A boundary corner or line may have a small Relative Positional Precision because the survey measurements were precise, yet still be in the wrong position (i.e., inaccurate) if it was established or retraced using faulty or improper application of boundary law principles.

iv.   For any measurement technology or procedure used on an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, the surveyor shall (1) use appropriately trained personnel, (2) compensate for systematic errors, including those associated with instrument calibration, and (3) use appropriate error propagation and measurement design theory (selecting the proper instruments, geometric layouts, and field and computational procedures) to control random errors such that the maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision outlined in Section 3.E.v. below is not exceeded.

v.     The maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision for an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is 2 cm (0.07 feet) plus 50 parts per million (based on the direct distance between the two corners being tested).  It is recognized that in certain circumstances, the size or configuration of the surveyed property, or the relief, vegetation, or improvements on the surveyed property, will result in survey measurements for which the maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision may be exceeded.  If the maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision is exceeded, the surveyor shall note the reason as explained in Section 6.B.x. below.

4.             Records Research - It is recognized that for the performance of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, the surveyor will be provided with appropriate and, when possible, legible data which can be relied upon in the preparation of the survey. The request for an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey shall set forth the current record description of the property to be surveyed or, in the case of an original survey prepared for purposes of locating and describing real property that has not been previously separately described in documents conveying an interest in the real property, the current record description of the parent parcel that contains the property to be surveyed.

In order to complete an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, the surveyor must be provided with complete copies of the most recent title commitment or, if a title commitment is not available, other title evidence satisfactory to the title insurer.  In addition, the surveyor must be provided with the following:

(i)   The following records established under state statutes for the purpose of imparting constructive notice of matters relating to real property (public records):

(a)  The current record descriptions of any adjoiners to the property to be surveyed, except where such adjoiners are lots in platted, recorded subdivisions;

(b)  Any recorded easements benefitting the property;

(c)  Any recorded easements, servitudes, or covenants burdening the property;

(ii)   Any unrecorded documents affecting the property being surveyed and containing information to which the survey shall make reference, if desired by the client.

Except, however, if the documents outlined above in (i) and (ii) of this section are not provided to the surveyor or if non-public or quasi-public documents are required to complete the survey, the surveyor shall be required to conduct only that research which is required pursuant to the statutory or administrative requirements of the jurisdiction where the property being surveyed is located and that research (if any) which is negotiated and outlined in the terms of the contract between the surveyor and the client.

5.         Fieldwork - The survey shall be performed on the ground (except as otherwise negotiated pursuant to Table A, Item 15 below, if selected by the client). The fieldwork shall include the following, located to what is, in the surveyor’s professional opinion, the appropriate degree of precision based on (a) the planned use of the property, if reported in writing to the surveyor by the client, lender, or insurer, or (b) the existing use, if the planned use is not so reported:

A.    Monuments

i.      The location, size, character, and type of any monuments found during the fieldwork.

ii.    The location, size, character, and type of any monuments set during the fieldwork, if item 1 of Table A was selected or if otherwise required by applicable jurisdictional requirements and/or standards of practice.

iii.   The location, description, and character of any lines that control the boundaries of the surveyed property.

B.    Rights of Way and Access

i.      The distance from the appropriate corner or corners of the surveyed property to the nearest right of way line, if the surveyed property does not abut a right of way.

ii.    The name of any street, highway, or other public or private way abutting the surveyed property, together with the width of the travelled way and the location of each edge of the travelled way including on divided streets and highways.  If the documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4 indicate no access from the surveyed property to the abutting street or highway, the width and location of the travelled way need not be located.

iii.   Visible evidence of physical access (e.g., curb cuts, driveways) to any abutting streets, highways, or other public or private ways.

iv.   The location and character of vehicular, pedestrian, or other forms of access by other than the apparent occupants of the surveyed property to or across the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (e.g., driveways, alleys, private roads, railroads, railroad sidings and spurs, sidewalks, footpaths).

v.     Without expressing a legal opinion as to ownership or nature, the location and extent of any potentially encroaching driveways, alleys, and other ways of access from adjoining properties onto the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

vi.   Where documentation of the location of any street, road, or highway right of way abutting, on, or crossing the surveyed property was not disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor, or was not otherwise available from the controlling jurisdiction (see Section 6.C.iv. below), the evidence and location of parcel corners on the same side of the street as the surveyed property recovered in the process of conducting the fieldwork which may indicate the location of such right of way lines (e.g., lines of occupation, survey monuments).

vii.  Evidence of access to and from waters adjoining the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (e.g., paths, boat slips, launches, piers, docks).

C.    Lines of Possession and Improvements along the Boundaries

i.      The character and location of evidence of possession or occupation along the perimeter of the surveyed property, both by the occupants of the surveyed property and by adjoiners, observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

ii.    Unless physical access is restricted, the character and location of all walls, buildings, fences, and other improvements within five feet of each side of the boundary lines, observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork. Trees, bushes, shrubs, and other natural vegetation need not be located other than as specified in the contract, unless they are deemed by the surveyor to be evidence of possession pursuant to Section 5.C.i.

iii.   Without expressing a legal opinion as to the ownership or nature of the potential encroachment, the evidence, location and extent of potentially encroaching structural appurtenances and projections observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (e.g., fire escapes, bay windows, windows and doors that open out, flue pipes, stoops, eaves, cornices, areaways, steps, trim) by or onto adjoining property, or onto rights of way, easements, or setback lines disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor.

D.    Buildings

The location of buildings on the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

E.    Easements and Servitudes

i.      Evidence of any easements or servitudes burdening the surveyed property as disclosed in the documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4 and observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

ii.    Evidence of easements, servitudes, or other uses by other than the apparent occupants of the surveyed property not disclosed in the documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4, but observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork if they appear to affect the surveyed property (e.g., roads; drives, sidewalks, paths and other ways of access; utility service lines; water courses; ditches; drains; telephone, fiber optic lines, or electric lines; or water, sewer, oil or gas pipelines on or across the surveyed property and on adjoining properties).

iii.   Surface indications of underground easements or servitudes on or across the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (e.g., utility cuts, vent pipes, filler pipes).

iv.   Evidence on or above the surface of the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork, which evidence may indicate utilities located on, over or beneath the surveyed property.  Examples of such evidence include pipeline markers, manholes, valves, meters, transformers, pedestals, clean-outs, utility poles, overhead lines and guy wires.

F.    Cemeteries

As accurately as the evidence permits, the perimeter of cemeteries and burial grounds, and the location of isolated gravesites not within a cemetery or burial ground, (i) disclosed in the documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor, or (ii) observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

G.    Water Features

i.      The location of springs, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, canals, ditches, marshes, and swamps on, running through, or outside, but within five feet of the perimeter boundary of, the surveyed property, observed during the process of conducting the fieldwork.

ii.    The location of any water feature forming a boundary of the surveyed property. The attribute(s) of the water feature located (e.g., top of bank, edge of water, high water mark) should be congruent with the boundary as described in the record description or, in the case of an original survey, in the new description (see Section 6.B.vi. below).

6.         Plat or Map - A plat or map of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey shall show the following information. Where dimensioning is appropriate, dimensions shall be annotated to what is, in the surveyor’s professional opinion, the appropriate degree of precision based on (a) the planned use of the property, if reported in writing to the surveyor by the client, lender, or insurer, or (b) existing use, if the planned use is not so reported.

A.    The evidence and locations gathered, and the monuments and lines located during the fieldwork pursuant to Section 5 above, with accompanying notes if deemed necessary by the surveyor or as otherwise required as specified below.

B.    Boundary, Descriptions, Dimensions, and Closures

i.      (a) The current record description of the surveyed property, or

(b) In the case of an original survey, the current record description of the parent tract that contains the surveyed property.

ii.    Any new description of the surveyed property that was prepared in conjunction with the survey, including a statement explaining why the new description was prepared. Except in the case of an original survey, preparation of a new description should be avoided unless deemed necessary or appropriate by the surveyor and insurer. Preparation of a new description should also generally be avoided when the record description is a lot or block in a platted, recorded subdivision. Except in the case of an original survey, if a new description is prepared, a note shall be provided stating (a) that the new description describes the same real estate as the record description or, if it does not, (b) how the new description differs from the record description.

iii.   The point of beginning, the remote point of beginning or point of commencement (if applicable) and all distances and directions identified in the record description of the surveyed property (and in the new description, if one was prepared). Where a measured or calculated dimension differs from the record by an amount deemed significant by the surveyor, such dimension shall be shown in addition to, and differentiated from, the corresponding record dimension. All dimensions shown on the survey and contained in any new description shall be ground dimensions unless otherwise noted.

iv.   The directional, distance and curve data necessary to compute a mathematical closure of the surveyed boundary. A note if the record description does not mathematically close. The basis of bearings and, where it differs from the record basis, the difference.

v.     The remainder of any recorded lot or existing parcel, when the surveyed property is composed of only a portion of such lot or parcel, shall be graphically depicted.  Such remainder need not be included as part of the actual survey, except to the extent necessary to locate the lines and corners of the surveyed property, and it need not be fully dimensioned or drawn at the same scale as the surveyed property.

vi.   When the surveyed property includes a title line defined by a water boundary, a note on the face of the plat or map noting the date the boundary was measured, which attribute(s) of the water feature was/were located, and the caveat that the boundary is subject to change due to natural causes and that it may or may not represent the actual location of the limit of title.  When the surveyor is aware of natural or artificial realignments or changes in such boundaries, the extent of those changes and facts shall be shown or explained.

vii.  The relationship of the boundaries of the surveyed property with its adjoiners (e.g., contiguity, gaps, overlaps), where ascertainable from documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4 and/or from field evidence gathered during the process of conducting the fieldwork. If the surveyed property is composed of multiple parcels, the extent of any gaps or overlaps between those parcels shall be identified.  Where gaps or overlaps are identified, the surveyor shall, prior to or upon delivery of the final plat or map, disclose this to the insurer and client.

viii. When, in the opinion of the surveyor, the results of the survey differ significantly from the record, or if a fundamental decision related to the boundary resolution is not clearly reflected on the plat or map, the surveyor shall explain this information with notes on the face of the plat or map.

ix.   The location of all buildings on the surveyed property, located pursuant to Section 5.D., dimensioned perpendicular to those perimeter boundary lines that the surveyor deems appropriate (i.e., where potentially impacted by a setback line) and/or as requested by the client, lender or insurer.

x.     A note on the face of the plat or map explaining the site conditions that resulted in a Relative Positional Precision that exceeds the maximum allowed pursuant to Section 3.E.v.

xi.   A note on the face of the plat or map identifying areas, if any, on the boundaries of the surveyed property, to which physical access within five feet was restricted (see Section 5.C.ii.).

xii.  A note on the face of the plat or map identifying the source of the title commitment or other title evidence provided pursuant to Section 4, and the effective date and the name of the insurer of same.

C.    Easements, Servitudes, Rights of Way, Access, and Documents

i.      The location, width, and recording information of all plottable rights of way, easements, and servitudes burdening and benefitting the property surveyed, as evidenced by documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4.

ii.    A summary of all rights of way, easements and servitudes burdening the property surveyed and identified in the title evidence provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4.  Such summary shall include the record information of each such right of way, easement or servitude, a statement indicating whether or not it is shown on the plat or map, and a related note if:

(a)  the location cannot be determined from the record document;

(b)  there was no observed evidence at the time of the fieldwork;

(c)  it is a blanket easement;

(d)  it is not on, or does not touch, the surveyed property;

(e)  it limits access to an otherwise abutting right of way;

(f)   the documents are illegible; or

(g)  the surveyor has information indicating that it may have been released or otherwise terminated.

In cases where the surveyed property is composed of multiple parcels, indicate which of such parcels the various rights of way, easements, and servitudes cross or touch.

iii.   A note if no physical access to a public way was observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

iv.   The locations and widths of rights of way abutting or crossing the surveyed property, and the source of such information, (a) where available from the controlling jurisdiction, or (b) where disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4.

v.     The identifying titles of all recorded plats, filed maps, right of way maps, or similar documents which the survey represents, wholly or in part, with their recording or filing data.

vi.   For non-platted adjoining land, recording data identifying adjoining tracts according to current public records.  For platted adjoining land, the recording data of the subdivision plat.

vii.  Platted setback or building restriction lines which appear on recorded subdivision plats or which were disclosed in documents provided or obtained by the surveyor.

D.    Presentation

i.      The plat or map shall be drawn on a sheet of not less than 8 ½ by 11 inches in size at a legible, standard engineering scale, with that scale clearly indicated in words or numbers and with a graphic scale.

ii.    The plat or map shall include:

(a)   The boundary of the surveyed property drawn in a manner that distinguishes it from other lines on the plat or map.

(b)   If no buildings were observed on the surveyed property in the process of conducting the fieldwork, a note stating “No buildings observed.”

(c)   A north arrow (with north to the top of the drawing when practicable).

(d)   A legend of symbols and abbreviations.

(e)   A vicinity map showing the property in reference to nearby highway(s) or major street intersection(s).

(f)    Supplementary or detail diagrams when necessary.

(g)   Notes explaining any modifications to Table A items and the nature of any additional Table A items (e.g., 21(a), 21(b), 21(c)) that were negotiated between the surveyor and client.

(h)   The surveyor’s project number (if any), and the name, registration or license number, signature, seal, street address, telephone number, company website, and email address (if any) of the surveyor who performed the survey.

(i)     The date(s) of any revisions made by the surveyor who performed the survey.

(j)     Sheet numbers where the plat or map is composed of more than one sheet.

(k)   The caption “ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey.”

iii.   When recordation or filing of a plat or map is required by law, such plat or map shall be produced in recordable form.

7.              Certification - The plat or map of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey shall bear only the following certification, unaltered, except as may be required pursuant to Section 3.B. above:     

To (name of insured, if known), (name of lender, if known), (name of insurer, if known), (names of others as negotiated with the client):

This is to certify that this map or plat and the survey on which it is based were made in accordance with the 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, jointly established and adopted by ALTA and NSPS, and includes Items ___________ of Table A thereof. The fieldwork was completed on ___________ [date].

            Date of Plat or Map: ___________ (Surveyor’s signature, printed name and seal with Registration/License Number)

8.             Deliverables - The surveyor shall furnish copies of the plat or map of survey to the insurer and client and as otherwise negotiated with the client. Hard copies shall be on durable and dimensionally stable material of a quality standard acceptable to the insurer. A digital image of the plat or map may be provided in addition to, or in lieu of, hard copies pursuant to the terms of the contract. When required by law or requested by the client, the plat or map shall be produced in recordable form and recorded or filed in the appropriate office or with the appropriate agency.

TABLE A

OPTIONAL SURVEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND SPECIFICATIONS

NOTE:  The twenty (20) items of Table A may be negotiated between the surveyor and client. Any additional items negotiated between the surveyor and client shall be identified as 21(a), 21(b), etc. and explained pursuant to Section 6.D.ii.(g). Notwithstanding Table A Items 5 and 11, if an engineering design survey is desired as part of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, such services should be negotiated under Table A, Item 21.

If checked, the following optional items are to be included in the ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY, except as otherwise qualified (see note above):

1.         _____   Monuments placed (or a reference monument or witness to the corner) at all major corners of the boundary of the property, unless already marked or referenced by existing monuments or witnesses in close proximity to the corner.

2.         _____   Address(es) of the surveyed property if disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor, or observed while conducting the fieldwork.

3.         _____   Flood zone classification (with proper annotation based on federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps or the state or local equivalent) depicted by scaled map location and graphic plotting only.

4.         _____   Gross land area (and other areas if specified by the client).

5.         _____   Vertical relief with the source of information (e.g., ground survey, aerial map), contour interval, datum, and originating benchmark identified.

6.         _____   (a) If set forth in a zoning report or letter provided to the surveyor by the client, list the current zoning classification, setback requirements, the height and floor space area restrictions, and parking requirements. Identify the date and source of the report or letter.

_____   (b) If the zoning setback requirements are set forth in a zoning report or letter provided to the surveyor by the client, and if those requirements do not require an interpretation by the surveyor, graphically depict the building setback requirements. Identify the date and source of the report or letter.

7.         _____   (a) Exterior dimensions of all buildings at ground level.

                        (b) Square footage of:

                        _____   (1) exterior footprint of all buildings at ground level.

                        _____   (2) other areas as specified by the client.

            _____   (c) Measured height of all buildings above grade at a location specified by the client. If no location is specified, the point of measurement shall be identified.

8.         _____   Substantial features observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork (in addition to the improvements and features required pursuant to Section 5 above) (e.g., parking lots, billboards, signs, swimming pools, landscaped areas, substantial areas of refuse).

9.         _____   Number and type (e.g., disabled, motorcycle, regular and other marked specialized types) of clearly identifiable parking spaces on surface parking areas, lots and in parking structures. Striping of clearly identifiable parking spaces on surface parking areas and lots.

10.        _____   (a) As designated by the client, a determination of the relationship and location of certain division or party walls with respect to adjoining properties (client to obtain necessary permissions).

            _____   (b) As designated by the client, a determination of whether certain walls are plumb (client to obtain necessary permissions).

11.        _____   Location of utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:

  • observed evidence collected pursuant to Section 5.E.iv.  
  • evidence from plans requested by the surveyor and obtained from utility companies, or provided by client (with reference as to the sources of information), and
  • markings requested by the surveyor pursuant to an 811 utility locate or similar request                       
  • Representative examples of such utilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Manholes, catch basins, valve vaults and other surface indications of subterranean uses;
  • Wires and cables (including their function, if readily identifiable) crossing the surveyed property, and all poles on or within ten feet of the surveyed property. Without expressing a legal opinion as to the ownership or nature of the potential encroachment, the dimensions of all encroaching utility pole crossmembers or overhangs; and
  • Utility company installations on the surveyed property.

                        Note to the client, insurer, and lender - With regard to Table A, item 11, source information from plans and markings will be combined with observed evidence of utilities pursuant to Section 5.E.iv. to develop a view of the underground utilities.  However, lacking excavation, the exact location of underground features cannot be accurately, completely, and reliably depicted.  In addition, in some jurisdictions, 811 or other similar utility locate requests from surveyors may be ignored or result in an incomplete response, in which case the surveyor shall note on the plat or map how this affected the surveyor’s assessment of the location of the utilities. Where additional or more detailed information is required, the client is advised that excavation and/or a private utility locate request may be necessary.

12.        _____   As specified by the client, Governmental Agency survey-related requirements (e.g., HUD surveys, surveys for leases on Bureau of Land Management managed lands).

13.        _____   Names of adjoining owners according to current tax records.  If more than one owner, identify the first owner’s name listed in the tax records followed by “et al.”

14.        _____   As specified by the client, distance to the nearest intersecting street.

15.        _____   Rectified orthophotography, photogrammetric mapping, remote sensing, airborne/mobile laser scanning and other similar products, tools or technologies as the basis for the showing the location of certain features (excluding boundaries) where ground measurements are not otherwise necessary to locate those features to an appropriate and acceptable accuracy relative to a nearby boundary.  The surveyor shall (a) discuss the ramifications of such methodologies (e.g., the potential precision and completeness of the data gathered thereby) with the insurer, lender, and client prior to the performance of the survey, and (b) place a note on the face of the survey explaining the source, date, precision, and other relevant qualifications of any such data.

16.        _____   Evidence of recent earth moving work, building construction, or building additions observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

17.        _____   Proposed changes in street right of way lines, if such information is made available to the surveyor by the controlling jurisdiction. Evidence of recent street or sidewalk construction or repairs observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork.

18.        _____   If there has been a field delineation of wetlands conducted by a qualified specialist hired by the client, the surveyor shall locate any delineation markers observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork and show them on the face of the plat or map. If no markers were observed, the surveyor shall so state.

19.        _____   Include any plottable offsite (i.e., appurtenant) easements or servitudes disclosed in documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor as a part of the survey pursuant to Sections 5 and 6 (and applicable selected Table A items) (client to obtain necessary permissions).

20.        _____   Professional Liability Insurance policy obtained by the surveyor in the minimum amount of $____________ to be in effect throughout the contract term. Certificate of Insurance to be furnished upon request, but this item shall not be addressed on the face of the plat or map.

21.        _____   ___________________________________________________________________

 

Adopted by the Board of Governors, American Land Title Association, on October 8, 2015.

American Land Title Association, 1800 M St., N.W., Suite 300S, Washington, D.C. 20036-5828.

www.alta.org

 

Adopted by the Board of Directors, National Society of Professional Surveyors, on October 9, 2015.

National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc., 5119 Pegasus Court, Suite Q, Frederick, MD 21704.

http://www.nsps.us.com/

Copyright 2006-2020 American Land Title Association. All rights reserved. The use of this Form is restricted to ALTA licensees and ALTA members in good standing as of the date of use. All other uses are prohibited. Reprinted under license from the American Land Title Association. 

18.40.4

The Spot Survey Or The Mortgage Inspection Report

For years another kind of survey, generally known as "spot survey" or "mortgage inspection report", has been made by local surveyors for real estate and lending organizations. The certificate of a "spot survey" or "mortgage inspection report" states that it is conducted to locate improvements on a particular piece of property. The actual boundary lines are almost never marked on the ground. The surveyor generally will conduct just enough work to make a drawing of the house and other improvements; this may or may not require the usual surveying instruments. In general, this type of survey is of very limited value. Its primary purpose is to show that improvements (house, garage, etc.) are within property boundaries; therefore, the "spot survey" or "mortgage inspection report" need only be sufficiently accurate to establish this fact. Recognizing that these so-called "surveys" are not truly accurate, the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, comprising some 66,000 surveying professionals across the United States, declared a resolution calling for renaming of the so called spot survey. This resolution states that calling results of such work a survey is a misnomer and suggests that a better name would be mortgage inspection report.

In general terms, the "mortgage inspection report" is not sufficient in order to attempt the deletion of general exceptions numbers 4 and 5 of the title commitment.

18.40.5

Who Can Make A Land Title Survey

A land title survey must be made by a licensed Land Surveyor, a registered Civil Engineer, or any other person authorized by state law to make surveys.

18.40.6

Check-List For The Examination Of A Survey (not for condominium or air right purposes)

("Note: Any "Yes" answer represents an adverse matter, and you should consider the need to show it as an exception or require additional documentation for its more comprehensive review.)"

Utility lines outside recorded easements? __________ (Yes/No)

Utility lines requiring easements, but no easements of record are found for the same reason? __________ (Yes/No)

Walls, fences or plantings,

Encroaching from adjoining property? __________ (Yes/No)

On property line? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on easements? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on adjoining property or rights-of-ways? __________ (Yes/No)

Buildings, houses, garages, outbuildings, fire escapes,

Encroaching from adjoining property? __________ (Yes/No)

On property line? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on easements located on the property? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on adjoining property or rights-of-way? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching over building setback lines ? __________ (Yes/No)

Driveways, sidewalks, parking areas,

Encroaching from adjoining property? __________ (Yes/No)

On property line? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on easements? __________ (Yes/No)

Encroaching on adjoining property or rights-of-ways? __________ (Yes/No)

Cemeteries and burial grounds? __________ (Yes/No)

Park and recreational facilities? __________ (Yes/No)

Springs, streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes or drainage ditches? __________ (Yes/No)

Variances in the area or dimensions of the land? __________ (Yes/No)

Violations of restrictive covenants or ordinances (if coverage is being given as to such matters)? __________ (Yes/No)

Survey is more than six months old, or recent improvements have been made on the land since the date of the survey? __________ (Yes/No)

Survey does not show any of the following: surveyor's signature, seal, date, or certification? __________ (Yes/No)

Legal description differs from the one in the commitment? __________ (Yes/No)

Survey shows matters not shown in the commitment? __________ (Yes/No)

Survey does not comply with the minimum standards for surveys demanded by Stewart Title Guaranty Company? __________ (Yes/No)

Railroad rights-of-way, switch tracks, spur tracks or transmission lines, but no easements of record are found for the same? __________ (Yes/No)

Gaps or overlaps are caused by the description of the property? __________ (Yes/No)

Legal names and widths of streets, roads and avenues are not shown? __________ (Yes/No)

Lack of legal access to and from the property? __________ (Yes/No)

Characters, locations and dimensions of all the buildings or structures located upon the property are not shown? __________ (Yes/No)

Property built full by one building does not show the accurate location of the walls and their thickness? __________ (Yes/No)

Adjoining property descriptions checked for potential conflicts? __________ (Yes/No)

18.40.7

Survey Coverage Without Review of a Survey

Extended coverage for the standard survey exceptions (deletion of the survey-related exceptions) and survey endorsements (e.g., issuance of the ALTA 9.1 or 9.2) may be available in the following states, for the referenced policies (excluding construction-related policies), under the following circumstances, without a survey:

States:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Inapplicability to Construction-Related Policies:
Policies of any type involving construction (construction loan policies or owner's policies where construction is being performed) or recently-completed construction, are not covered by these criteria. In order to offer extended coverage and/or additional survey endorsements for construction-related projects, a current survey (showing the completed improvements) must be obtained and reviewed.

Affidavit Relating to Survey Matters:
In all situations, you should obtain an affidavit from the seller or borrower (as applicable) confirming that they have no notice of problems that a survey would disclose (e.g., encroachments, easements, blocked access, etc.). Such statements may be included in your standard title affidavit. In some cases, specific affidavit forms are required, as noted below.

Loan Policy: Residential Property
Stewart Title Guaranty Company (STG) does not require a survey in order to give extended coverage as to survey matters in Loan Policies issued on 1-4 family residential properties. You may delete the survey exception or issue the appropriate survey coverage endorsement without any inspection or additional requirements. You also may delete any general exception to unrecorded easements.

You should continue to except to easements of record and any significant encroachments, conflicts or unrecorded easements of which you have actual knowledge, either by a prior survey or inspection report in your possession, your search, or information obtained from a starter policy which conforms to STG requirements.

These 1-4 family residential policies can be either subdivision lots or acreage tracts under 25 acres.

Loan Policy: Commercial Property
STG does not require a survey in order to give extended coverage as to survey matters in Loan Policies or Short Form Commercial Loan Policies issued on commercial transactions with liabilities of up to $25,000,000 per site. You must include specific exceptions (such as specific encroachments) as provided above for matters actually known by you. If the liability for a site exceeds $25,000,000 and you are requested to provide extended coverage as to survey matters without a survey, please call a Senior Underwriter.

Loan Policy: Endorsements
You may issue the ALTA Form 9, 9-06, 9.3 or 9.3-06 Endorsement or CLTA Form 100 Endorsement (or similar Endorsement available in your jurisdiction) on Loan Policies covering 1-4 family residential properties or on Loan Policies relating to commercial transactions of up to $25,000,000 per site without a survey, if you include specific exceptions for matters (such as specific encroachments) actually known by you and if you comply with our other requirements for issuance of these endorsements. If the liability for a site exceeds $25,000,000, please call a Senior Underwriter.

1992 ALTA Owner's Policy: Residential Property
STG does not require a survey in order to give extended coverage as to survey matters in Owner's Policies covering 1-4 family residential property in platted subdivisions, if you include specific exceptions for matters (such as specific encroachments) actually known to you and if you obtain STG Affidavit Concerning Encroachments and Property Boundary Issues 1 from the seller. You must secure overlimits approval from our underwriting personnel for issuance if the policy to be issued will exceed your authority to issue without underwriting approval.

ALTA Homeowner's Policy: Residential Property
STG does not require a survey to issue the ALTA Homeowner's Policy. Survey matters are dealt with in the Homeowner's Policy Of Title Insurance Affidavit 2000, required for issuance of the ALTA Homeowner's Policy. Please see Bulletins MU000030 and MU000036 .

Short Form Residential Owner's Policy
STG does not require a survey to issue the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy. Please see Bulletin MU000035.

Owner's Policy: Commercial Property
You may provide survey coverage on an Owner's Policy covering commercial property based on a prior survey of any date if: (a) you obtain STG Affidavit Concerning Encroachments and Property Boundary Issues 1 from the seller, (b) you do not have actual knowledge that improvements have been added since the date of the prior survey, and (c) you add specific exceptions for matters (such as specific encroachments) shown on the prior survey. You may also rely on the prior survey for issuance of other endorsements (such as survey, contiguity or ALTA 9.1 or 9.2), that require review of a survey. You must secure overlimits approval from our underwriting personnel for issuance if the policy to be issued will exceed your authority to issue without underwriter approval. Please call our underwriting personnel if you are asked to provide survey coverage on an Owner's Policy covering commercial property without a prior or new survey.